Eat Fresh: How Tracie Says to Save Orangutans!

Sayulita’s beloved owner of Chocobana, Tracie Willis, is known to be a passionate eco-warrior who isn’t afraid to raise her opinion on pressing issues, all while serving up delicious coffee and food at one of Sayulita’s most popular and well-known restaurants. Recently, Tracie went on an epic journey into the jungles of Indonesia and Malaysia to help protect the remaining members of the critically endangered Orangutan species who have holed up high in the canopies of their rainforests to seek refuge from the humans who devastate their native lands.

Last Saturday, the auditorium area at Sayulita’s Casa de la Cultura was filled with visitors and residents who came to listen to Tracie’s always passionate words. She recounted tales of working with organizations such as International Animal Rescue and The Orangutan Project, the latter of which was founded by her new hero and daring Orangutan activist Leif Cocks. During the presentation Tracie exclaimed,

Tracie speaking about Leif Cocks

Tracie speaking about Leif Cocks

This man, Leif Cocks, is my hero. He completely changed my life. 



Tracie continued to tell her tales of Orangutan rehabilitation in the wild. She showed us some powerful video footage, and even with the slight technical difficulties, the audience was very involved. After Tracie had repeated her new motto “Eat Fresh” a few times and warned us of the effects of Palm Oil on the rainforest, many people began to ask questions. Members of the audience exclaimed,

Tracie addressing questions

Tracie addressing questions

“Is there palm oil in my extra virgin olive oil?”

“What products have palm oil in them?”


Tracie also attributes her new slim and trim figure to following the “Eat Fresh” motto! Tracie was also accompanied by her son Andrew, who provided excellent Spanish translation to the multi-lingual audience, and also helped Tracie manage the slide pesentation. However, as the presentation went on, it became clear that this is something that Andrew too has become passionate about thanks to his mom Tracie. Tracie also paused during the presentation to give praise to Andrew for running Chocobanana during her journey into the jungle.

Another important point Tracie made that hit home with us at El Sayulero, is that Chiapas is facing the same fate. As of 2010, there were a handful of palm oil plantations in Chiapas, which has led to vast deforestation. Chiapas is a region of Mexico that is home to a number of indigenous groups and animal species that are both being literally exiled from their homes due to the exploitation of this resource.

What is palm oil used for you ask? Well Tracie tells us that around 80-90% of palm oil is used to produce processed foods! Yes, unfortunately when you eat your favorite candy bar you probably are promoting the destruction of the rainforest which leads to the death of Orangutans and other cute rainforest creatures. Here is where the plot thickens; palm oil companies use many names to hide this ingredient in their products! Here are some aliases that we found via Rainforest Action Network.

Sayulita Sings the Presentations Praises on Social Media

Sayulita praises the presentation on Social Media (click to enlarge)


Tracie’s presentation was welcomed with applause and praise by the Sayulita community. There was an overwhelming thank you seen on Facebook by the community. Tracie hopes to provide Sayulita with many more presentations this high season to reach out to as many eco-conscious visitors as possible. In honor of World Orangutan Day, which fell on August 19th, Tracie even donated thousands of dollars to this cause by giving away a day of Chocobanana’s proceeds to the aforementioned Orangutan activists. 

This is exactly why we love Sayulita. It is full of people that care about the world and really want to live each moment of their lives with meaning. There are so many creative, talented, and passionate people in Sayulita, which is what makes it so special. We can’t wait for more events this high season. Today, you can follow Tracie’s motto of “Eat Fresh” by going shopping at the Mercado del Pueblo. You can be sure that you will be eating palm oil free!

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